Whether you’re a casual wine-drinker or are a full-on wino, sometimes you need some good music to add some flavor to whatever flavor you’re sipping on. Some of these songs are uplifting; others are more somber. So whether you drink to escape your problems, participate in some revelry or simply to unwind, here are ten songs for all you wine-drinkers out there (Songs that almost made this list include Heart’s “White Lightning & Wine,” Cream’s “Sweet Wine,” Tommy Bolin’s “Sweet Burgundy,” Nancy Sinatra’s “Summer Wine,” The Handsome Family’s “So Much Wine,” Rolling Stones’ “Blood Red Wine,” Gordon Lightfoot’s “Blackberry Wine,” Third Eye Blind’s “God of Wine” and Matt Costa’s “Whiskey and Wine.”)
Number Ten: “Elderberry Wine” by Elton John. “Elderberry Wine” is a song by Elton John, off of his 1973 album, Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player. Lyrics include, “round a tree in the summer / a fire in the fall / flat out when they couldn’t stand / the bottle went round / like a woman down south / passed on from hand to hand.” Other lyrics are, “drunk all the time / feeling fine on elderberry wine / those were the days / we’d lay in the haze / forget depressive times / how can I ever get it together / without a wife in line / to pick the crop and get me hot / on elderberry wine.” Elderberry wine is essentially a fruit wine, so listen to this song if you’re looking for a pick-me-up while you’re drinking.
Number Nine: “Cherry Wine” by Hozier. “Cherry Wine” is a song by Hozier, off of his 2014 debut, self-titled album. On the album, only a live version of this song is featured. According to Hozier, this song “was recorded late at night in an old, abandoned hotel with a caved-in roof and walls covered in graffiti.” Lyrics include, “her eyes and words are so icy / oh but she burns / like rum on the fire / hot and fast and angry / as she can be / I walk my days on a wire.” The song continues, “calls of guilty thrown at me / all while she stains the sheets of some other / thrown at me so powerfully / just like she throws with the arm of her brother.” The chorus is the following: “Way she shows me I’m hers and she is mine / open hand or closed fist would be fine / the blood is rare and sweet as cherry wine.” Whatever your interpretation of this song, it’s beautiful and it’s perfect for drinking wine with your lover (or supposed lover.)
Number Eight: “Bottle of Red Wine” by Derek and The Dominos. “Bottle of Red Wine” is a song by Derek and The Dominos, off of their 1973 double-live album, In Concert. Some of the lyrics are, “feel so bad this mornin’, got a terrible headache in my head / do me a favor, baby, do me a favor please / please get up, get your man a bottle of red wine.” The line repeated in the song is, “get up, get your man a bottle of red wine,” whether it’s because your man “can’t get up out of bed” or has a “crazy feelin’ in (his) head.” The lyrics to this song are so simple, and this si the perfect song to groove to while you’re sipping on a glass of red.
Number Seven: “Strawberry Wine” by The Band. “Strawberry Wine” is a song by The Band, off of their 1970 album, Stage Fright. Lyrics include, “yeah, I know you won’t give me no peace of mind / try to understand I just wanna feel good all the time / don’t you talk about a dear old friend of mine / well, I know that you are sweet and more than double fine / everybody said you oughta marry that rich man down the line / but if I had to make a choice I wouldn’t change my mind / honey, you just ain’t as sweet as my strawberry wine.” This song personally reminds me of winos drinking around a trash-can fire.
Number Six: “Spill the Wine” by Eric Burdon & War. “Spill the Wine” is a song by Eric Burdon & War, off of their 1970 release, Eric Burdon Declares “War”. Essentially this song is about sex and about the beauty of all women. This is evidenced by the repeated lyrics, “spill the wine, take that pearl” and “spill the wine, dig that girl.” There are other clues that suggest the scene for this song is some sort of mystical place, such as “this really blew my mind / the fact that me, an overfed, long-haired leaping gnome / should be the star of a Hollywood movie / but there I was / I was taken to a place /the hall of the mountain kings.” The song continues, “I could feel hot flames of fire roaring at my back / as she disappeared, but soon she returned / in her hand was a bottle of wine / in the other a glass / she poured some of the wine from the bottle into the glass.” Personally, this song always reminds me of Boogie Nights, and it’s the perfect song for wine and overall debauchery.
Number Five: “The Wine Song” by The Youngbloods. “The Wine Song” is a song by The Youngbloods, off of their 1967 album, Earth Music. The song begins, “some folks like whiskey, whiskey’s mighty fine / some folks like moonshine, lord, they drink it all the time / my daddy taught me, he said, ‘son, only way to keep your head in line, drinkin’ that wine, wine wine / keep your head stoned all the time.’” The song continues, “look at them luscious little bottles, sittin’ up on the shelf / red, green and yellow, lord, they are somethin’ else / they mesmerize me, the way they sparkle and shine,” and, “one snort of Ruby Port really ring the bell / then a glass of Muscatel sets my head up well / then this sweetest bottle of cheapest sherry wine / I say goodbye to my mind.” This song is for all those wine-drinkers who drink to forget.
Number Four: “Getting Drunk on a Bottle” by Tom Waits. “Getting Drunk on a Bottle” supposedly was written by S. David Cohen and was recorded by Dave Bromberg in 1974 under the title, “I Like to Sleep Late in the Morning.” Personally, I prefer the Tom Waits version. The song essentially is two verses repeated over and over. The first verse goes, “some woman told me today / you’re wasting your life away / sitting around in your prime / getting drunk on a bottle of wine.” The second verse goes, “I like to sleep late in the morning / I don’t like to wear no shoes / Making love to the women while I’m living / getting drunk on a bottle.”
Number Three: “Lilac Wine” by Jeff Buckley. “Lilac Wine” is a song by Jeff Buckley, off of his 1994 album, Grace. It was originally written by James Shelton and has been covered by artists like Nina Simone and Miley Cyrus. The lyrics begin, “I lost myself on a cool damp night / gave myself in that misty light / was hypnotized by a strange delight / under a lilac tree / I made wine from the lilac tree / put my heart in its recipe / it makes me see what I want to see / and be what I want to be / when I think more than I want to think / do things I never should do / I drink much more than I ought to drink / because it brings me back to you.” The song ends with the following lines: “Lilac wine is sweet and heady, like my love / lilac wine, I feel unsteady, like my love / listen to me, I cannot see clearly / isn’t that she coming to me nearly here / lilac wine is sweet and heady, where’s my love / lilac wine, I feel unsteady, where’s my love / listen to me, why is everything so hazy / isn’t that she, or am I just going crazy, dear / lilac wine, I feel unready for my love.” Whatever your take on the lyrics, there’s a reason why so many artists have covered this song.
Number Two: “Bartender” by Dave Matthews Band. “Bartender” is a song by Dave Matthews Band, off of their 2002 album, Busted Stuff. This is a pretty spiritual song, in that the narrator is looking for salvation and forgiveness in the company of a bartender. Lyrics include, “bartender please, fill my glass for me / with the wine you gave Jesus that set him free after three days in the ground.” The song continues, “bartender you see, this wine that’s drinking me / came from the vine that strung Judas from the devil’s tree / roots deep, deep in the ground.” This track is for all those winos out there who are drinking to escape something.
Number One: “Red Red Wine” by UB40. “Red Red Wine” is a song by UB40, off of their 1983 album, Labour of Love. Originally it was written and performed by Neil Diamond. The song is essentially about drinking wine to forget a past lover. The lyrics begin, “red, red wine / goes to my head / makes me forget that I / still need her so / red, red, wine / it’s up to you / all I can do, I’ve done / but memories won’t go.” The song continues, “I’d have sworn / that with time / thoughts of you would leave my head / I was wrong / now I find / just one thing makes me forget.” And then the toasting section goes, “red, red wine you make me feel so fine / you keep me rocking all of the time.” I chose this song for number one, as despite its lyrical content, it’s a song that just makes you feel good. Plus, surely when you think of wine-related songs, this one immediately comes to mind.